Explore New Markets At a Global Forum

Written by Posted On Monday, 26 September 2016 13:34

A recent global forum serves as an example of the importance of gaining perspective when considering business expansion into new markets.

In this column, "Decisions & Communities," I am asked to shine the real estate spotlight on economic, business, communication, and other relevant perceptions and perspectives generated by my work and research as a futurist and business achievement strategist. Many times the resulting article reveals consumer insights that also benefit professionals; this time, our focus is business or practice expansion into new markets, which may also be of interest to consumers with businesses.

Which context do you use to clarify your local potential and that of your business or practice, as well as its expansion opportunities?

Which process and relationships do you call on to shift your thinking to new perspectives and opportunities and, then, transform that vision into reality?

When considering a new market or reviewing your current status with a target demographic, you're often too emotionally and professionally involved to be objective and inspired. And usually too busy serving clients to have time to develop the new perspective necessary for fresh thinking.

One quick and usually inspiring way to step outside "the box" you work in to gain room to think is to attend a conference—ideally by yourself.

PJ's TIP: Step outside your industry and attend a forward-thinking forum that would attract your preferred or target client market.

Sometimes the best way to gain local insight is to think global. The issues in your microcosm are usually the same or similar, but the larger global scale can bring clarity to local issues. For instance, I recently attended a Global Forum entitled "Leading in Uncertain Times, which covered a wide range of globalization topics from disruptive technology and social entrepreneurship to the Fintech revolution and emerging markets. Exposed to expert discussions on subjects that challenge communities everywhere, I ended up with a variety of fresh perspectives on your businesses and practices.

The 10th annual Toronto Global Forum was designed to foster discussion on North American and global issues by bringing together heads of state, central bank governors, government ministers, academia, global economic decision makers, forward-thinking entrepreneurs, and 2600 delegates from more than 40 countries. Formal meetings and plenary sessions, coupled with more casual conversations and pointed discussions provided excellent context for forward-thinking.

This Forum is one of three annual global summits created by the International Economic Forum of the Americas (IEFA) to "promote the role of the Americas in major decisions and reforms related to the current global economic context." Proceedings bring delegates in direct contact with decision makers who might otherwise be out of reach.

The 130 speakers, leading specialists from a variety of professions and countries, stimulated imaginations and challenged norms. Their business insights had the potential to trigger fresh thinking when applied to the context each delegate was considering. You may be surprised at the ideas that pop into your mind when you're free from daily-work pressure and surrounded by others intent on capturing opportunity.

Here are a few highlights that may start you thinking about how to connect with the markets you want to serve. Your clients will be dealing with issues like these in their businesses and careers even if you don't feel you are:

"Riding the Wave of Disruptive Technologies"

In this panel discussion, panelist Adam Khan, Founder and CEO of Illinois-based Akhan Semiconductors and co-inventor of the Miraj Diamond™ Platform, explained that diamond semiconductor technology provides "new pathways of flexibility" that may facilitate breakthroughs in consumer electronics, wearable applications, and in many other fields. Diamonds offer an alternative to silicon that may provide greater cost-saving and improve returns while using less energy and resources. What changing or emerging technology could facilitate your adventure into new markets? Which disruptive influences will targets face?

"Social Entrepreneurship in the Mainstream"

Debra Schwartz, Managing Director, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation participated in a lively panel discussion of how real estate investment has developed a new and growing niche tied to social enterprise. Schwartz and other panelists shared many financial variations on funding for housing and community projects. The discussion highlighted two strong emerging economic trends:

  1. "Nonprofit" now requires sophisticated financial thinking. Funding is less tied to donations and more directed to complex, customized, creative financial and investment solutions that support new initiatives and existing programs and communities. (More about this in the following months.)
  2. "Nonprofit," "profit," and "risk" are three of many dated economic terms and concepts that need a twenty-first Century overhaul to facilitate widespread assimilation and truly-innovative thinking essential to building and sustaining strong communities. Out-dated thinking is often the main barrier to local improvement. When communication accurately explains actual opportunity and intent, instead of paying lip service to old-fashioned concepts, local initiates will benefit. [number list ends]

    Where does dated thinking get in the way of goal achievement for members of the markets you'd like to target?

"Managing Risk in a Volatile World"

Share in this significant highlight: Ian Bremmer, President and Founder of Eurasia Group and TIME Magazine Editor-at-Large informally (in front of the entire Forum) interviewed Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund. What does this high-level interaction reveal about what you'd like to communicate to emphasize how you serve clients and help them achieve goals?

"Harnessing the Potential of Emerging Middle-Class Markets"

Emerging markets continue expanding, with projected global growth of an additional 3 billion by 2030. Harvard-educated Tunde Kehinde, co-founder of Africa Courier Express (ACE), a widely-acclaimed Nigerian online logistics startup, modeled after Amazon, stressed that Africa is the next big business frontier represented by more than a billion young consumers jumping online. Kehinde explained that since the internet enables wide-spread access to expanding middle-class markets, entrepreneurs can develop online "infrastructure" to support and significantly contribute to further growth for consumers and the small businesses that serve them. The success of ACE has led Kehinde and his partner, Ercin Eksin, to launch a new financial services platform—Lidya.co—to improve access to credit and finance for Africans using ACE and for many more consumers. Kehinde believes these online ventures, combined with smartphone and mobile computing growth, bring the potential of Africa into reality for individuals and local groups: "Customers are adopting technology faster than governments, so when we think about designing our businesses…our communities…we must do so in a different way."


For more on global entrepreneurship and an interview with Adam Kahn, visit PJ’s blog: http://www.thecatalyst.com/blog/.

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PJ Wade —       Decisions & Communities

Futurist and Achievement Strategist PJ WADE is “The Catalyst”—intent on Challenging The Best to Become Even Better. A dynamic problem solver and author of 8 books and more than 2200 published articles, PJ concentrates on the knowledge, insight, communication prowess, and special decision-making skills essential for professionals and their clients who are determined to thrive in the 21st-Century vortex of change.

PJ Wade's latest business book, What's Your Point? Cut The Crap, Hit The Mark & Stick! further proves PJ's forward-thinking expertise and her on-point ability to explain technical, even non-verbal, communication details in practical, actionable terms. Print publication: Fall 2021.

PJ: “What's Your Point?the pivotal 21st-Century business question—must be answered before you open your mouth, hit a key, tap anything or swipe. Too often 'Your Point' is not clear to you and communication remains an expensive illusion.”

As The Catalyst, PJ concentrates on enhancing communication ROI for experienced advisors, executives, entrepreneurs, business owners, and other savvy professionals, who may not have received as much formal training in communication as they have in their own field.

PJ’s on-point professional development programs and featured presentations kickstart innovation and catalyze action. What's Your Point? programs, presentations, and content present the rich combination of practical suggestions, game-changing concepts, and on-point perspectives essential to those rising to the challenge as effective business communicators—online & off.

Onward & Upward—The directions that really matter! Reach PJ at pjwade@TheCatalyst.com and visit her What's Your Point? Blog. Keep up-to-date with PJ's popular column  Decisions & Communities


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